Among the technologically inclined, its new vehicle may be Facebook.
Having relationship troubles? Is your significant other interrogating you, asking about your communication with people you used to date, or even with acquaintances you speak with infrequently?
Blame Facebook, say three researchers at the University of Guelph, in Ontario.
The reason? Jealousy. And not just any jealousy—"Facebook-specific jealousy," say two Ph.D. candidates in psychology and their advisor. They add that such jealousy may increase the amount of time that you—or your significant other—spend on the social networking site.
It's an interesting thesis. I disagree with it, that Facebook fuels jealousy within couples, and that this in fact causes (perhaps I should say provides an excuse to those already so inclined?) people to spend more time on the network, but I'm not an avid Facebook user. I have an account but I'll go weeks without looking at it. And then sometimes I'll post entry after entry in frenzied fashion. And while I have a partner who's an avid Facebooker, my partner doesn't seem to look at my contacts, nor at what I write there, though we're "friends" on the service. And I (sorry if you're reading this) never look at what she posts. Our offline relationship seems to be enough.
But then my experience may be atypical. Still, I'd say that, rather than "causing" or "creating" jealousy, Facebook and social networking generally, like any good technology, allows the jealous to exercise their vice more efficiently, and with greater frequency if they're the sort that finds jealousy stimulating.
Many do. We've had labor-saving technologies serving most of the seven deadly sins, Wrath, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, etc. for decades.
It was only a matter of time before Envy caught up.